Health Dept Issues Media Gag Order, Appoints Spokesman

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Srinagar: Authorities in Kashmir on Thursday directed the staff of the health department to refrain from interacting with the media, while establishing a dedicated media desk and appointing a spokesperson to stop circulation of “contradictory and confusing messages” which creates “unnecessary and avoidable panic”.

In an order, Director of Health Services, Kashmir, Mushtaq Rather enjoined upon all chief medical officers/medical superintendents/block medical officers of Kashmir Division to issue instructions to all the staff under their administrative domain to desist from media interactions.

The order said it has been seen that contradictory and confusing messages are being circulated, which misinforms the public and creates unnecessary and avoidable panic.

The director asked the officers to initiate strict disciplinary action against anyone indulging in such behaviour.

They shall further report any disregard of these instructions by any officer/official to this office also, the order said.

Later in the day, Director Health Services, Kashmir, issued another order for establishment of a media desk and appointed a spokesperson to address the alleged misinformation by media outlets amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In an order issued here, Director Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq Rather named Dr Mir Mushtaq MS as spokesperson to the Health Department at the Directorate level.

“In view of the instruction conveyed by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir vide letter no : DivCom/2021-22/5154-5158 dated 05-2021 regarding the subject cited above, Dr Mir Mushtaq MS is being designated as spokesperson to Health Department at Directorate level to address the circulation of misinformation through different media outlets and to make general public aware of up scaled efforts taken by administration,” reads an order issued by Director Health Services, Kashmir

The order on the establishment of the media desk came hours after the Director Health Services, Kashmir passed an order asking all chief medical officers/medical superintendents/block medical officers of Kashmir Division to issue instructions to all the staff under their administrative domain to desist from media interactions. (With PTI inputs)

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